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Sales Coaching
October 9, 2023
Nishit Asnani
Join us as we unearth the truth about Dark Patterns in sales, the deceptive labyrinth of manipulative techniques. Should your business tread these murky waters? Let's explore.

So, you're making good sales, right? Very nice. But let's hold the celebration for a moment. Have you pondered the ethics of your sales tactics? If your eyebrows have skyrocketed and you're now wondering if that’s even a thing—it is, my friend. And in the mysterious corridors of selling, it has a name: Dark Patterns.

What are Dark Patterns?

You see, Dark Patterns in sales are like that magician at the carnival, who amazes you with their tricks only for you to find out later that your wallet's gone. They're designed to trick customers into making decisions they wouldn’t have, had they known all the facts. In simpler terms, it’s like hiding the fact that your “free” trial subscription comes with a catch: automatic renewals that attract your dollars faster than moths to a flame.

Remember, our beloved customers are not Hansel and Gretel, and we're not here to lead them down a deceptively decorated path to a not-so-sweet surprise. Or are we? See, it’s a tricky question to answer when sales targets are hovering over you like an ominous raincloud. But never fear, this blog post is here to help you navigate these shadowy waters.

Stay tuned as we discuss more about the dark realm of sales. Till then, remember, not all that glitters in sales is gold. Or even ethical, for that matter.

Are You Lost in The Dark? Recognizing Dark Patterns

So, how can you tell if you've ventured into these shadowy territories of Dark Patterns? Well, it's not as hard as finding a needle in a haystack or understanding the plot of Inception on your first watch. Dark Patterns appear in many forms, primarily as tricky wordings, 'hidden' terms and conditions, or 'disappearing' opt-out buttons. It's like going to a buffet thinking you'll eat till you drop, only to find out there's an extra charge for dessert.

Let's analyse a common sneaky trick: the Roach Motel pattern. Not the most appealing name, right? But hey, they didn't name it after a place where bugs check-in and never check out for nothing. This pattern traps users into subscribing or signing up for something, making it significantly harder to unsubscribe or opt-out later. It's like being invited for a fun vacation, but then not being able to find the exit once you want to leave. Except, in this case, the ‘vacation’ is an unwanted newsletter, and the ‘exit’ is the elusive unsubscribe button hiding behind a thousand clicks. Let me tell you, the only thing that should be hiding behind a thousand clicks is a pot of gold or a free lifetime supply of pizza.

The Ethical Dilemma: Convenient Deception or Costly Reputation?

In the high-stakes game of sales, using these Dark Pattern tactics might feel like a smart chess move. Like when you deploy that deceptive marketing strategy to close a deal, you might feel like a chess wizard who just put the opponent into checkmate. But in this game, there's always another player ready to call out your move. Ethics, meet sales.

Sure, Dark Patterns can lead to short-term customer acquisition or sales boosts. However, it's like a sugar rush. You’re high and mighty for a while until you're lying face down on the floor, wondering where it all went wrong. In the long run, these tactics shatter customer trust, damage your reputation, and can even lead to legal issues. Remember how I said sales aren't a game? Well, it also isn't a Prison Break episode—you don't want your business to end up behind bars.

The Trust Trade-off: Winning Customers Vs Losing Reputation

Dealing with Dark Patterns is a lot like handling wild fire; it may give you a momentary advantage, but before you know it - you're enveloped in a blaze of negative publicity and damning Google reviews. Not the five-star reputation you were hoping for, huh?

In this era of informed customers, deflecting trust is like trying to bat away a swarm of angry bees with a plastic sword. It's ineffective, painful, and will likely end in an embarrassing retreat. Customers are much more likely to stick with businesses they trust. And let me tell you, trust is not something you gain by playing hide and seek with the 'unsubscribe' button or by slipping in hidden costs like a ninja in the night.

It's estimated that a whopping 65% of a company's business comes from existing customers. Now, if you strip away the trust factor using deceptive marketing - it's a bit like shooting yourself in the foot. And last I checked, limping isn't the most efficient way to race towards that sales target.

Sailing Safe on the Sales Sea – Alternatives to Dark Patterns

Now for the real challenging question: How to stay ethical and still dominate the competitive sales battlefield without resorting to these manipulative methods?

It’s not as impossible as trying to eat spaghetti with a spoon. Instead of Dark Patterns, try using 'Bright Patterns' - okay, I made that term up, but the idea is real: Be honest!

Transparent pricing, clear communication, respecting your customer's decision-making power – these are all weapons you can wield instead. It’s about providing value, building relationships and trust, and keeping communication lines open and straightforward.

But before you start panicking about how to achieve all these without pointing the deceptive wand of Dark Patterns, here's the good news: Tools exist that focus on ethical sales practices while driving up numbers. Interested? Stay tuned!

The Sybill Way: Lighting up the Sales Road

Take a deep breath—things are about to get a lot less 'cloak and dagger' and a lot more 'open book test'. Say hello to Sybill, an AI platform that's more of a sales coach than a manipulative trickster.

Sybill is like that trusty flashlight you keep beside your bed, just in case of power outages. Instead of bamboozling customers into sales conversions, it helps sales reps score with honest techniques. It records sales conversations, transcribes them, creates call summaries, follow-up emails, and guides reps in closing more deals. And if you're worried about the chore of updating your CRM, no worries - Sybill automatically populates custom CRM fields based on call and email data in each opportunity. It's like having an efficient assistant who doesn't get tired or forget things.


In the end, it all comes down to choice. Do you choose the shadowy path with its potential traps and pitfalls? Or do you opt for the illuminated road, cleared of deception, and paved with honesty? Are you going to stick with old habits, or will you dare to embrace change?

The world of sales, much like a thrilling mystery novel, is all about the choices you make along the way. But unlike a novel, you can't flip to the end to see if the consequences of your choices will be grim or glorious. Remember, the goal is not just to make a sale, but to build a relationship that will survive in the long run. With honesty, transparency, and the right tools, like Sybill, you can achieve it.

So, here's to traveling light, selling right, and making winning sales journeys part of your organizational culture. After all, that's what real sales heroes do!

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